The NBA season has been great so far, and being the basketball junkie that I am I will be watching some NBA basketball come thanksgiving. However, I decided to write about what I’m thankful for in the NBA.
Be Thankful for the Young Stars
This may be the best class of 28 and under players this league has ever had. Think about it, has the league ever had this many players who are going to be good for the next decade. Going back to the 2003 draft class where LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, and Carmelo Anthony were all drafted.
The league is currently set for the next 10 plus years with the young players. This class of 28 and under players includes many marketable stars, in fact more than the other two major sports.
The 2003 draft class was where it really started, that day the NBA would change forever. The young prodigy LeBron James was the first overall pick, the Detroit Pistons made the infamous mistake by passing over Carmelo Anthony for Darko Milicic’s upside. Then Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade the player who has probably been the best player in the league after Kobe and LeBron.
Ever since then LeBron is widely considered the face of the league, Carmelo Anthony has finally come into his own with Billups in Denver, Chris Bosh has become one of the best power forwards in the league, and Dwayne Wade rejuvenated the NBA in the city of Miami, he has become a top player in this league, and most importantly Dwayne Wade despite being slightly overlooked to the other three Wade is the first to a title so far.
And the best thing is that Dwayne Wade who is currently the oldest turns 28 in January.
The 2003 draft isn’t where it ends however, the next year a high schooler out of Atlanta named Dwight Howard went first overall. Howard has become the best center in the league. However he is still very raw.
Howard is only 23 and still hasn’t developed post moves. He has worked with Patrick Ewing to develop post moves; as soon as Howard develops his post moves he will elevate himself into being an all time dominant center. He’s already one of the best defenders in the league and has already won a defensive player of the year; Howard is destined to be the best center in the league.
The next year the league saw two young point guards enter the league in Chris Paul who slipped to fourth and Deron Williams went third. Paul has become the best point guard in the league and Williams slightly trails Paul. Paul rejuvenated the New Orleans Hornets by leading them to the playoffs and Deron Williams is currently leading a nice Utah squad.
The next years followed with stars such as Brandon Roy, Kevin Durant, who has potential to being the same class as the Kobes and LeBrons, and young point guard Derrick Rose and Brandon Jennings who has brought Milwaukee relevant again in the NBA, all of these guys are stars. The young players have this league set for the next 10 years.
Be Thankful for the Older Veterans
While the young guys are blossoming the older veterans are still playing solid basketball. You have guys like Kobe Bryant who is widely considered the best player in the league. You have Tim Duncan who is leading the Spurs, Jason Kidd still playing point guard at a productive level, and Dirk Nowitzki who is playing at an MVP like level.
Steve Nash has the Suns resurged, leading the league in assists and having the Suns playing run n gun ball again.
Then you have Kevin Garnett and the big three, the Big three led the Celtics to title, Garnett proved to be the missing piece for the Celtics squad, earned defensive player of the year in 2007-2008 season and provided great leadership for a Celtics team that was on a mission, helping Paul Peirce and Ray Allen get their first title.
Chauncey Billups led the Nuggets to the western conference finals and made them an elite team in the west.
And finally you have three older players joining contending teams in Shaquille O’Neal with the Cavs, Vince Carter with the Magic, and Rasheed Wallace with the Celtics, all the older veterans still playing at a productive level.
Be Thankful for the Dominant Teams
This year there are about six teams who could win it all. You have the Kobe and the Lakers, the big three and the Celtics, Duncan and the Spurs, Dwight Howard and the Magic, LeBron’s Cavs, and Carmelo and the Nuggets would be the sleeper potential title team.
Those are probably the best teams. Certainly if one of them stayed healthy nobody would be surprised if they made a finals run. Obviously the Spurs and Celtics are older tams who have been bit by the injury bug but if they stayed healthy it would not be surprising if they met in the finals.
Then you have the middle of the road teams who are a player away but could make a nice playoff run if everything goes right, you have the Atlanta Hawks, the Miami Heat, the Dallas Mavericks, and Portland. However, it will be very exciting when the top teams match up due to the parity at the top of the league.
Be Thankful for the Young and Upcoming Teams
While the Lakers, Spurs, Magic, Celtics, Cavs, and Nuggets are the class of the league, these teams will be the class of the league in a few years.
You got Portland with Brandon Roy and Lamarcus Aldridge both signed long term and a healthy Greg Oden. Oklahoma City led by Kevin Durant who has unlimited upside, Russell Westbrook who is becoming one of the best floor generals in the league, and Jeff Green who has developed into a nice player.
The Chicago Bulls with Derrick Rose who is currently banged up but will be a star, a healthy Luol Deng, and the tough gritty Joakim Noah leading the league in boards, Noah plays his heart out night in and night out, brings energy and toughness to a young Bulls squad.
The Memphis Grizzlies with young guns OJ Mayo and Rudy Gay to go along with big men Marc Gasol and Hasheem Thabeet, they have a nice future.
Even the Golden State Warriors who have a lot of talent, I’m not saying they’ll be a champion ship contender in the near future but they do have a lot of young talent with guys like Anthony Randolph, Stephen Curry, Anthony Morrow, and Monta Ellis. If the Warriors can get it together management wise they could be dangerous in the near future.
Be Thankful for the Storylines
Even when there is no basketball this league is still very entertaining. You have the whole free agent class of 2010 which could be the biggest free agent class of all time. The summer of 2010 free agent class is headlined by big names most notably LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, Joe Johnson, and many others.
The whole will he or won’t he with LeBron whenever he visits a team that will be pursuing free agents in 2010. Then you have the guys who just signed like Ron Artest, Richard Jefferson, and Vince Carter.
The Shaquille O’Neal situation and how will he help LeBron, will the Cavs get better with Shaq? Then the rookie class led by guards like Brandon Jennings, Tyreke Evans, Stephen Curry, Ty Lawson, and Darren Collison, this may be one of the deepest classes of point guards. Plus the most touted rookie Blake Griffin hasn’t even made his much anticipated season debut yet.
Bottom line is that even if you are mildly interested in the NBA, there is always a reason to watch. Whether it’s the finals hunt, the young guys or some other off the field stuff there is a reason to watch the NBA. That’s why this year I’m thankful for the NBA and how far it has come, happy thanksgiving and make sure to watch some NBA basketball.